Rep. Yvette D. Clarke Highlights 46th Anniversary of Medicare
Today marks the 46th anniversary of when the Medicare program was enacted by President Lyndon Johnson signed into law in 1965.
“Creating Medicare was one of the proudest achievements of the Democratic Party,” stated Rep. Yvette D. Clarke. “Medicare has transformed what it means to be old in this country. Too many people have forgotten what life was like in the United States before Medicare existed. Today, we celebrate the tremendous success of Medicare in providing seniors and people with disabilities with health care security.”
In 1964, only 51 percent of Americans over 65 had health care coverage – whereas today, because of Medicare, coverage is virtually universal. In addition, the creation of Medicare has played a role in the poverty rate among seniors dropping dramatically. Nearly 30 percent of seniors lived below the poverty line in 1964 – and today that number has dropped to 7.5 percent. Furthermore, Medicare has contributed to the life expectancy of Americans increasing significantly.
“Today there are 70,260 Medicare enrollees in the New York Congressional District of New York. Know that I will continue to protect these benefits as our nation continues to address the deficit,” stated Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.
Medicare provides comprehensive health care coverage to 47 million Americans, including 39 million seniors and 8 million people under 65 with disabilities. Unfortunately, in April, House Republicans passed a budget that would end Medicare and replace it with a system where seniors get a voucher to buy private insurance, for all Americans now under 55 – with the result of reducing benefits and raising seniors’ costs. Republicans argue that the Medicare program cannot be maintained and must be completely replaced.
“On the 46th anniversary of the enactment of Medicare, I reject the Republican view that the program must be scrapped and replaced with a new system that shifts costs to seniors,” said Rep. Clarke. “Over the last 46 years, Democrats have fought vigorously to protect and strengthen Medicare. Democrats have often enacted legislation to extend Medicare’s solvency – most recently in the Affordable Care Act that extended solvency for an additional eight years. Democrats will continue to work to strengthen Medicare’s solvency and ensure that Medicare – the promise we have made to our seniors – will be there for future generations.”